When I started looking for a summer internship last spring, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. I had never had an internship before, and I didn't know what would be a good fit for me. All I knew is that I wanted it to involve politics — my passion — and hoped it would play to one of my strengths. I also wanted to do something useful and interesting, not just busy work, as a lot of interns wind up doing. Additionally, I wanted to get school credit for it. Luckily, a friend suggested that PolicyMic would be a good place for someone interested in politics with decent writing skills.
When I looked up the site, the first thing I noticed was that most of the writers were young. PolicyMic's millennial focus ensured I would be having a dialogue with other people in my age group on issues that young people care about, such as the war on drugs and student debt. The next thing I noticed was the comment section. Unlike most sites, PolicyMic encourages its writers to converse with people who comment on their work, making the site more democratic and leading to a more engaged userbase.
These two features really impressed me. Checking out their internship requirements, I liked that they offered flexible work hours, the ability to work from home, and the fact that they would coordinate the internship with my school’s requirements to make it eligible for academic credit. This type of flexibility allowed me to make the most of my summer; I was able to write for PolicyMic four afternoons per week while taking a summer course in the mornings, and even squeezing in some campaign work (New Jersey special Senate election) on the weekends.
My internship was hugely beneficial for me, in ways that extend beyond writing skills. It's easy to write about issues that I am knowledgeable or passionate about; but as an intern, I sometimes had to write about topics that were new or of no interest to me and find something interesting to say about them, and quickly. This involved researching and digesting a lot of information in an effort to find some new twist for my story, something that was not in other news sites. This is time-consuming, before even writing a word, and it forced me to budget my time for research and to plow through lots of information quickly, leaving enough time for writing. In fact, time management to meet deadlines was probably the toughest thing I needed to learn, and though I will never be the fastest writer around, the PolicyMic internship pushed me to research, organize, and develop a story more quickly than I could have before. I also learned to use a more concise style and an economy of words while still making my point — no easy task. I had to, since most of the articles I wrote were around 500 words or so. All the while, I was learning about a broad range of issues in the public arena.
These skills will be useful to me in my intended career, politics, but they would be valuable in a variety of other professions as well. What prospective employer would not want someone who can research quickly, express him/herself clearly, and is well-versed on current events? My PolicyMic internship was a challenging and interesting experience, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to sharpen their analytical and writing skills.